School supplies are on sale, the air is getting cooler, and grocery stores are already selling Halloween candy. That’s right—Autumn is fast approaching! With any change in the seasons, we here at the Catholic Cemeteries Association are placed with the very important task of maintaining our graves, both old and new. Some common questions we hear involve how long it takes for a grave to settle, what the process entails, and the procedure surrounding new burials. You might be surprised by some of the answers! Keep reading to learn what you should know about grave settling.
1. What is grave settling?
Grave settling is the process of the earth (soil, clay, etc.) surrounding the burial readjusting.
2. How long does is take a grave to settle?
The duration of time it takes for a grave to settle varies greatly on the season, type of burial, and other external factors. However, on average its takes about a year for a grave to fully settle.
3. What is the process of leveling a grave?
Directly after the burial, the vault is surrounded by filler. While many cemeteries use only soil, we at the Catholic Cemeteries Association use fill sand to the top of the vault and then soil from the vault to the top of the grave. Sand is much more durable against water and therefore speeds and assists in the settling process. As the grave settles throughout the year, additional soil is added.
4. When will grass be planted?
Grass will be planted on a grave before the grave has settled completely. Typically, the first seed application will occur within a few months of the burial, depending on the season. As the grave continues to settle throughout the year, more soil and seed are applied until the grave is level and the grass has grown in fully. Please keep in mind that grass seed cannot be planted during summer and winter months as the seeds will not germinate. We understand that leveling and seeding can cause distress to a family and we ask for your patience during the process.
5. When can a memorial or monument be placed?
This answer varies depending on the individual situation. Many memorials can be set soon after the burial, weather permitting. The type of memorial (flush or above ground) will also affect how quickly it can be placed on a grave. It is also important to consider the production time of the memorial and if a poured cement foundation is required. Generally, memorials are not able to be set during late fall through early spring.